All excellent advice. My son and I went to a state park to test our Hammocks etc last year end of Feb or earlly March. He needed to test all his gear as we were going on his first backpack trip soon. Good thing we did because we were in the Smokies first week of April. First night was at the campground after the drive of 12 hours. We Had severe temp drops and pouring rain all night. Needless to say glad for our Hammocks as ground tent pad was under 6 inches of water bye morning. Bye the time we reloaded our packs and took of for backcountry it was snowing hard. Bye nightfall there was six inches on the ground at 5000 feet. We managed fine but I wouldnt want to of had this weather on our practice trip. We did have a bit of trouble getting a fire started. We finally found enough dry lichens and a dab of his stove alcohol got her blazing. We both kept pretty warm down into the low twentys. The Hammock is a bit trickyer as the cold comes from below. We both were prepared from improvising from our state park trip. So yes Do Practice. Early spring in the mountains expect anything! Fall as well, higher the elevation colder and higher risk of severe weather. Happy Trails